How a Sabbatical Can Put the Spark Back into Your Relationship

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sabbaticalKaran Bajaj’s one year sabbatical from his corporate job put the spark back into his relationship. Here’s how…

Karan Bajaj is a #1 bestselling Indian novelist with more than 200,000 copies of his novels in print, both optioned into major films. Karan’s first worldwide novel, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent, will be be published by Random House on May 3rd. The book, called “The Siddhartha of our Generation” by The Daily Telegraph was inspired by Karan’s one year sabbatical traveling from Europe to India by road and learning yoga and meditation in the Himalayas.

You can get his free meditation video course on and read more about The Yoga of Max’s Discontent on

I interviewed Karan on Last First Date Radio to learn about how his sabbatical with his then-girlfriend, was the best thing for their relationship. Highlights of the show below.

How a Sabbatical Can Put the Spark Back into Your Relationship

Tell us a little about your year long sabbatical.

For the last decade, I’ve worked on a 4:1 system; I work for 4 years and take a year off. I find in the four years, I work very hard, and on the year off, I am unstructured. The balance of tightness/slackness has been very positive for me. In the year off, I learn something new. In the last sabbatical, I learned yoga and meditation. I became more creative. 

How did you adjust to the dirt and discomfort during your travels?

It was a conscious choice to live in austerity. It helped me. In a relationship, we get attached to our notions of who we are and our preferences. In the sabbatical, we decondition ourselves. It frees you. 

Why do you think every couple should take a sabbatical?

You start to understand your partner in a more three-demential way. 

I respected my girlfriend’s resilience that came out in our travels. In our everyday life in New York, I didn’t see that as much.

Also, in the Ashram, men and women are separated. During those three months and ensuing silence, I appreciated what my girlfriend brought to my life. 

When you’re on the road alone, you end up taking care of each other. You are the only two who can give one another solace during this time. You strip masks from each other during a sabbatical.

What were the hardest parts of being together on the road as a couple?

We evolved throughout the course of the journey. In the beginning, we had strong notions about who the other person was and what each of us wanted and needed. As we went along, we learned so much about each other. For example, I’d love testing myself in physical endurance. I thought my girlfriend was equally interested, but it was taking its toll, even though she never complained.

Or in the ashram, the lack of physical contact took its tool. Over time, we began to sense one another vs. acting and waiting for the other’s reaction. We melded into one identity. The whole world shrinks when you’re on a sabbatical. 

Listen to the episode by clicking here. 

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